NOTICE: We have changed the name of our school to 3-Trails School. Additional revisions will be made to this website periodically as a part of our continuous quality improvement protocols.
3-Trails Polytechnic School: An Overview
3-Trails School is planned as a K-5 charter public elementary school in the Hickman Mills C-1 School District under the sponsorship of the Missouri Charter Public School Commission. The organizing theme of the school is the Santa Fe, Oregon and California National Historic Trails. Financial literacy, wellness, and sustainability-ecology are the school curriculum anchors. The school comports with all state regulations and with the small school model. Implementation is phased beginning with just 100 K-1 students in year one and growing by 50 students every year until at full scale of 300 students in year five. The teacher-powered student-centered learning school model is built on a dedicated project based learning curriculum platform designed to maximize resources in the classroom. Further our focus is on the independent self-managed charter school model that exemplifies the original intent of the charter school movement, which we are actively engaged in.
This proposal is for the 3-Trails School (3TS) in the Hickman Mills C-1 School District (HMSD) in South Kansas City, Missouri. It identifies the need for and explores a truly innovative, transformative, and unique governance model providing for a teacher-led student-centered charter public elementary school. The school model is built on a dedicated project based learning curriculum platform specifically designed to maximize resources in the classroom. Situated on the historic, 19th century westward trails, 3TS will capitalize on the geographic proximity of this monumental chapter in American History as context for a rigorous, personalized, and practical learning based curriculum for K-5 students.
Our grant predecessor, 3-Trails Community Improvement District (CID), was formed in 2002 to promote sustainable economic development in the CID. Equally important was the CID’s deep commitment to enhancing public education as a driver of sustainable economic development, especially in the implementation of programs that would provide students in the surrounding community with access to quality education and a pipeline to meaningful employment. The CID, in collaboration with Elizabeth Noble, Ph.D., conducted extensive research on education with a special emphasis on the historical development of the polytechnic (“many arts”) school model developed during the Progressive Era around the turn of the 20th century. The CID education and economic development research can be found on its website: 3trailscid.org.
On the advice of legal counsel, the CID encouraged/recommended proposed legislation to be filed in the Missouri General Assembly amending the Missouri CID statute to specifically permit a CID to participate in public education through a CID-sponsored public school. In support of the legislation, the CID held numerous public community meetings providing information about the importance of public education in achieving sustainable economic development, expanding educational opportunities for students and enhancing quality of life. One key benefit of the CID legislation is that it would have created access to federal funding designated for economic development through the CID for which public school districts are not eligible that could then be utilized in the CID school and shared with nearby school districts under a collaborative education plan.
The CID hosted Jed Wallace, then the CEO of High Tech High, a nationally recognized, high-performing charter school in San Diego, California for a two day visit to Kansas City. Mr. Wallace and CID representatives met with various community, educational and business stakeholders to measure the level of local interest in implementing some of the proven High Tech High educational protocols in collaboration with the CID and other South Kansas City school districts. Unfortunately, the school districts expressed no interest in collaborating with High Tech High, or the CID. After three years of unsuccessful effort to amend the CID statute, combined with lack of support from the local school districts, the CID board concluded the CID education initiative was premature, and tabled the effort in favor of CID infrastructure planning, funding, and construction. The CID terminated in 2015, following the acquisition of the majority of the land in the CID by Cerner Corporation and made a grant of its remaining funds to 3-Trails West, Inc., (3-Trails) to be used for the same purposes of the CID.
3-Trails was created in 1991 as a not-for-profit corporation. Its primary mission is promoting of the Santa Fe, Oregon, and California National Historic Trails, which have significant documented pertinence to the Kansas City region. 3-Trails focuses on constructing a 46 mile retracement trail on the historic trails alignment from Sugar Creek, Missouri, to Gardner, Kansas,; to promote sustainable economic development and education; and, enhance community quality of life along the historic trail corridor. 3-Trails worked very closely with the CID; Mid-America Regional Council (MARC); Kansas City, Missouri; Jackson County, Missouri; the National Park Service; Hickman Mills School District; and, other key stakeholders on a variety of projects, studies, and infrastructure improvements relating to the historic trails, transit, sustainable economic development, education opportunities for students of the community and numerous initiatives collectively deemed beneficial to the community, and the region.
In January 2017, 3-Trails received confirmation from its legal counsel, Ms. Aleksandra O. Rushing (Husch Blackwell Law Firm) that charter schools were now authorized in the provisionally accredited Hickman Mills C-1 School District. The decision was made to resurrect the old CID school initiative in the form of a charter public school, and to conduct a comprehensive in-depth analysis and assessment to determine the feasibility of establishing a quality charter public school in the Hickman Mills C-1 School District.. In addition to promoting sustainable economic development, enhanced quality of life and employment opportunities, the primary goal of new school initiative is to provide current and future students in the HMSD with maximum access to quality education calculated to provide a pipeline for all students to meaningful employment.
Pursuant to the methodology and feasibility analysis detailed below, we have concluded and heartily endorse a quality charter public school in the HMSD is needed by the students in this community. Therefore, we propose moving forward to create an innovative and quality charter public school that will offer project based learning and training in the traditional polytechnic “many arts” model, and serve as the foundation for sustainable economic development and revitalization of South Kansas City.
Establish and successfully operate a teacher-led, student-centered quality, signature landmark charter public elementary school under the sponsorship of the Missouri Charter Public School Commission in the Hickman Mills C-1 School District, along the historic pathway of the Santa Fe, Oregon, and California National Historic Trails where all of our students are performing at or above grade level and achieving a level of interactive social skills commensurate with their age.
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Letter of Intent
Founding Team Résumés
School Design Elements
We at 3-Trails School are actively looking for a Founding Director. If like us, you want to see a positive change in the education of our children and embrace the teacher-powered student-centered learning school model then we want to hear from you. Review the position and contact us accordingly.
WE'D LOVE TO HEAR FROM YOU